Black Cross formed in 2001 under the moniker Black Widows with the original line up of Rob Pennington (vocals, ex By The Grace Of God, Endpoint), Ryan Patterson (guitar, ex National Acrobat, Automatic), Evan Patterson (bass, ex National Acrobat), and Thommy Browne (ex By The Grace Of God, Automatic). They were united in their love of DC hardcore, a coming of age through the early 90's hardcore scene, and a desire to emphasize the aspects of hardcore and punk that they held dear.
Black Widows recorded a debut EP for Initial Records (Stops A Beating Heart, now included on the Widows Bloody Widows CD collection) and soon after joined the Equal Vision Records roster. As work on their debut album began, it came to their attention that the trademark for the name "Black Widows" was owned by another party (not to mention had been used thousands of times over by other bands) and the band decided to change its name to Black Cross.
In late 2002, Black Cross entered the studio with producer/guru J. Robbins to record Art Offensive, their full length debut. Released in 2003, Art Offensive garnered praise just about everywhere and the band set out on the road with the likes of Thursday, Give Up The Ghost, Hope Conspiracy, These Arms Are Snakes, and Suicide File, among others.
Soon enough, line up changes, the members' other bands, and responsibilities at home loomed and Black Cross became sidelined. Thommy Browne left the band to spend more time at home with his wife and children, with Sean Johnson briefly joining the band on drums, followed by Matt Jaha. Rob's touring time was limited due to teaching and family priorities, Evan formed Breather Resist (now Young Widows) who toured heavily, and Ryan then formed Coliseum in order to be able to spend more time touring.
While Black Cross never broke up, nearly all of 2005 found the band entirely inactive with the exception of the release of the three-song EP Sink, Knives & Chrome on Ryan & Evan's label Auxiliary Records. Late in the year, they reconvened with a new, more stable, line up and began writing songs for their next album. Evan switched from bass to second guitar and his Young Widows band mate Nick Thieneman (also of Brain Banger) took over bass duties. A friend of Rob's since the Endpoint / Sunspring tours in the mid-90s, Forrest Kuhn (Sunspring, Halifax Pier) joined on drums and the band made a grand reemergence at Auxiliary's Last Saturday show series kickoff in January 2006.
A year later, the band entered the studio with friend Chris Owens engineering to record their long awaited second proper full length. Titled Severance Pays, the album finds Black Cross focusing their patented melodic-yet-noisy hardcore sound while digging deeper into their earlier melodic punk influences such as Wipers, Husker Du, Gray Matter, etc.
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